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April 17 MLB DFS: Deploy a Trusty Old Lackey
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Welcome to April 17 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for April 17 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!

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April 17 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
2:25 Starting Pitcher
9:12  Catcher
11:09 First Base
16:05 Second Base
18:45 Third Base
21:33 Shortstop
24:13 Outfield
30:48 Stacks

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CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS WITH VALUE RATINGS CLICK HERE

  • In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
  • In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.

April 17 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections

John Lackey (CHC) and Danny Salazar (CLE) top the starting pitching projections with both projecting for more than seven strikeouts against the Brewers and the Twins respectively. The Brewers have held up to their strikeout heavy reputation early in the season (26.9 K Rate against RHP) while the Twins (19.4 K Rate against RHP) have actually cut down their strikeout rate early in the season. Both will have the benefit of pitching in strong conditions for run prevention with forecasted temperatures in the low 50s in Chicago and Minnesota and mild wind blowing in. While we don’t have a total on the Cubs game, we’re expecting an implied total below 3.5 against Lackey and the Twins implied total is just below four. Robbie Ray (ARI) checks in just below this group with the benefit of a positive park shift for his fly ball tendencies. The Dodgers’ struggled against LHP last season (dead last in wRC+ by a wide margin and posted an above average K Rate of 22.2 percent) and have gotten off to a slow start again (82 wRC+, 21.3 K Rate). It’s a little bit of a strange phenomenon as they were third in 2015 (112 wRC+) with largely the same pieces. Ray can miss bats but the quality of the matchup is slightly below the Brewers and Twins. Ray is meaningfully cheaper than Lackey and Salazar on FanDuel, which makes him a slightly stronger play on FanDuel than DraftKings.

In the mid-tier, Brandon McCarthy (LAD) has the lowest implied run total against on the slate (3.2) but hasn’t missed many bats in his first few starts (7.7 swinging strike rate). The price tag is acceptable should you need more salary relief to squeeze in top tier stacks. Jaime Garcia (ATL) is a similar target against a Padres’ offense that has been dreadful against LHP early on (55 wRC+, 21.6 K Rate). These are the primary two cash game alternatives as complementary pieces to the first tier starters.

In tournaments, Jordan Montgomery (NYY) flashed good enough off-speed stuff to generate swinging strikes (16.9 swinging strike rate) in his debut, but the matchup with the Rays was quite friendly for strikeouts. The White Sox project as a weak offense but overall but they’re significantly more potent against LHP. Montgomery’s price tag ($6,000) earns him GPP consideration on DK along with Lance Lynn (STL) whose wide splits get a friendly matchup with PIrates lineups that tend to run out just three LHBs.

Catcher

No surprise, but there is very little value at the catcher position tonight. Stephen Vogt (OAK) headlines the position in our model, drawing the platoon edge on AJ Griffin. Vogt has been hitting fifth against right-handed pitchers and since 2014 he has posted a .336 wOBA and .174 ISO against them. At just $2,800 on FD and $3,400 on DK, he is a solid option for cash games.

Willson Contreras (CHC) doesn’t rate exceptionally well in our model, but he’ll draw a matchup with Chase Anderson as the Cubs take on the Brewers. Anderson has not fared well against same handed batters, allowing a .361 wOBA and .200 ISO to RHB since 2014. Contreras holds a similar price tag to Vogt and will get you exposure to a Cubs offense with one of the highest implied run totals on the slate. J.T. Realmuto (MIA) is still only $2,400 on FD and $3,400 on DK. He’ll hold the platoon edge on Ariel Miranda and is a viable pivot off of Vogt or Contreras, despite a team implied run total of just 3.6 runs.

Austin Hedges (SD) is a worthy pure punt if you’re looking for the biggest cost savings.

First Base

Chris Carter (NYY) has been in and out of the lineup for the Yankees, but assuming he finds himself back in – he is an excellent value and the top first baseman in our model. Carter’s value stems from his platoon split, as he’s posted a .350 wOBA and .262 ISO against LHP since 2014. On the flip side, his opponent Derek Holland has been susceptible to right-handed power, allowing a .181 ISO in that time to RHB. Nevertheless, Carter’s volatility might make him best served for GPPs.

Following Carter, Eric Thames (MIL) and Freddie Freeman (ATL) join the value rankings. Thames continues to rake, hitting the ball absurdly hard and launching balls out of the ball park with regularity. He won’t have the advantage of Miller Park (or GABP) where he’s been hitting home runs, but a mild night at Wrigley shouldn’t force him out of consideration. He remains just $2,800 on FanDuel and $3,800 on DK. Freeman well get the luxury of facing old man Jered Weaver. Weaver has been exactly what we expected thus far, allowing 3.27 HR/9 and striking out less than six hitters per nine innings (while allowing 35.3% Hard%). He’s gotten lucky to have built up a 93% LOB% but the Braves hold the highest implied run total on the slate and Freeman is their best offensive piece. Of this group, he is the best cash game play, but he’ll cost you just a bit more.

Both Carlos Santana (CLE) and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) rate well in our model against RHP Kyle Gibson. The Indians are coming off a let down game but are tied for the second highest implied run total. They are excellent GPP plays. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is priced near both Santana and Encarnacion and for the same reason (good team environment) is a GPP worthy play.

Carter’s teammate, Matt Holliday (NYY) is 1B eligible on DK where he rates as our top value. He has not played the last day for lower back stiffness, but is an option should he find himself in the lineup.

Second Base

It is a tale of two sites at the second base position tonight. On FanDuel, you can seemingly fit any of the “top options” whereas on DraftKings the pickings seem a bit more thin. Logan Forsythe (LAD) is day to day, but if in the lineup he’ll be at in the leadoff spot against Robbie Ray. Forsythe has been a monster against LHP since 2014, posting a .362 wOBA and .222 ISO in that time.

Priced just above Forsythe is a duo of alternative second basemen. Jonathan Villar (MIL) and Rougned Odor (TEX) both hold cash game viability on FanDuel and are secondary options on DraftKings. Villar holds dual speed/power upside and will have the platoon edge on John Lackey. Odor will also hold the platoon edge, looking to add to the .217 ISO he’s posted against RHP since 2014.

Jose Ramirez (CLE) holds second base eligibility on DraftKings and rates similarly to the aforementioned duo there.

Starlin Castro (NYY) has been through a myriad of lineup spots, but hit third last night. If he finds himself in the third spot again he’ll be a great value with the platoon edge on Derek Holland.

Jed Lowrie (OAK) is extremely cheap on both sites and looks to be a potential punt fill in.

Third Base

Kris Bryant (CHC) is our top rated third baseman. Given that it is not necessary to pay for an elite starting pitcher, Bryant fits into our cash game plans on both sites where he looks to take advantage of Chase Anderson‘s reverse splits. He’s built a .216 ISO in his short career versus RHP.

Todd Frazier (CHW) will hold the platoon edge on Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery. ZiPS and Steamer both project over 1.25 HR/9 for Montgomery this year and the hitting environment bodes well for Frazier. Frazier has not been kind to LHP, sporting a .350 wOBA and .257 ISO since 2014. He’s only $300 cheaper than Bryant on DraftKings, but he provides a $900 savings on FanDuel.

Jake Lamb (ARI) has been similarly unkind to RHP in his short career. He’ll hold the platoon edge on Brandon McCarthy but gets a negative park shift. He’s a great tournament pivot.

Jose Ramirez (CLE) is 3B eligible on FanDuel and holds secondary cash and GPP appeal as our primary focus falls on Bryant and Frazier. Joey Gallo (TEX) is another GPP option with lots of power upside.

Shortstop

The duo of Tim Anderson (CHW) and Tyler Saladino (CHW) find themselves near the top of the shortstop rankings in our model. The pair will move to Yankee Stadium and draw the platoon edge on young left-hander Jordan Montgomery. Neither has a skillset that will blow you away, but the macro environment and price points allow you to prioritize in other spots. At an even cheaper price, Dansby Swanson (ATL) brings a better skillset and a matchup with Jered Weaver. He is perhaps the best cash game play of this trio, but won’t be able to match the overall game environment that Yankee Stadium provides.

Addison Russell (CHC) joins the slew of Cubs that warrant consideration against RHP Chase Anderson.

If you have the cash, you can pay up for Francisco Lindor (CLE) or Carlos Correa (HOU). The two represent the best players at the position on the slate, but aren’t necessary cash game plays.

Outfield

A hodge podge of options highlight the outfield position. Mike Trout (LAA), Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), Matt Holliday (NYY), Kyle Schwarber (CHC), and Michael Brantley (CLE) rate as the top five outfielders in our model.

Trout will get a positive park shift moving to Minute Maid Park and he’ll likely carry lower ownerships after an 0-4 in Kansas City yesterday. He’s the best player in the game and holds a matchup with Joe Musgrove, enough said. Stanton holds the platoon edge on fly ball oriented Ariel Miranda. Miranda allowed 1.86 HR/9 last season and should be frightened of Stanton’s platoon splits against LHP. Since 2014, Stanton has posted a .457 wOBA and .353 ISO against LHP. He’s just $4,400 on DK and $4,100 on FD – an easy fit for all formats.

We noted Holliday has been out of the lineup but might be available for this game. His platoon splits aren’t Stanton-esque, but a .230 ISO against LHP since 2014 will suffice. Schwarber tops the deep Cubs offense and Brantley gets a matchup with contact oriented Kyle Gibson.

Khris Davis (OAK) and George Springer (HOU) headline a middle tier with huge event upside as parts of stacks or GPP one-offs. Ender Inciarte (ATL) is priced just below this group and will leadoff the Braves offense against Jered Weaver. He is a great mid-tier cash game play.

At the bottom of the pricing spectrum, there are a handful of options. Matt Joyce (OAK) should slide into the second spot to face AJ Griffin. He’s been more than competent against RHP in recent years and is finally getting the at bats to make it worth it. Kole Calhoun (LAA) is priced low enough to be considered in the bottom range at just $3,900 on DK and $2,900 on FD.

A pair of Yankees, Aaron Hicks (NYY) and Aaron Judge (NYY) round out the bottom tier. Hicks has been in and out of the second spot in the order, making him a viable secondary cash game play against Holland – but both should be considered a bit more heavily for tournaments.

Stacks

Tier One

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Cleveland Indians

Tier Two

  1. Houston Astros
  2. Los Angeles Angels
  3. Chicago White Sox

The Cubs are the best offense on the slate but difficult offensive conditions in Wrigley (low temperatures) along with Chase Anderson‘s strong start to the season bring other clubs into the mix as well. The Yankees get more favorable offensive conditions with the wind blowing out to right and Derek Holland‘s low ERA has been fool’s gold (36.4 percent hard hit rate, 12.1 percent soft hit rate). The Yankees offense isn’t traditionally potent against LHP but Chris Carter provides big power upside and Aaron Hicks has been effective against lefties in his short career. The Yankees LHBs should also represent contrarian targets as part of the stack.

Additional Contrarian Options

An Atlanta Braves mini-stack is intriguing given the lack of depth at SS (Swanson) and the hot hitting of Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte.